Yearbook 2008

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With the exception of humans, chimpanzees show the most diverse and complex tool using behaviors of all existant species. Primatologists at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology are using new research methods to study chimpanzee tool use in the dense forests of the Congo Basin. They are discovering complex technological skills among these apes that expand current perceptions of chimpanzee cognition and material culture. more
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology examine how biomedicine is shaped through its engagements in Africa. Biomedicine is regarded as a circulating set of technologies, practices, and ideas that – as a by-product of prevention and healing – links individual bodies to the political order. Africa is central for understanding global shifts in the making of social, political, and juridical forms of governance because the continent is marginalised in the global political economy and thus represents a site of intense conflict and experimentation. more
Massive stars are much rarer and they form much faster than low-mass stars – which is why it is quite unlikely to be able to observe their early stages. In addition, all regions with massive young stars are at a greater distance from our solar system, resulting in stringent requirements for the resolution and sensitivity of the instruments used for observation. However, today the new interferometers in the sub-millimeter and millimeter range enable the investigation of more distant star formation regions at high spatial resolution and sufficient sensitivity. An international team lead by MPIA managed to gain interesting insights into several massive star-forming regions, including the famous Orion KL region. more
Scientists at Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) have performed detailed computations of the highly redshifted radiation that is released during the epoch of cosmological hydrogen recombination. Progress in the development of radio detectors may render these small deviations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) spectrum from a perfect blackbody observable, thereby offering a complementary way to measure the exact value of the CMB temperature, the entropy of the Universe, and to provide direct evidence about how our Universe became transparent. more
Three years since its completion, the Millennium Run remains the largest simulation of cosmological structure formation. Over 100 papers [1] have been written based on its numerical data. More than half of these are by authors who have accessed the data through a web service of the German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (GAVO). This is the most complete application yet of Virtual Observatory techniques to the publication of theoretical data. more